Personally, January 26th is my most favourite national holiday. There’s something about the unabashed display of Indian might that gives me a feeling akin to a sugar rush. It’s probably one of the few days of the year when I wake up early of my own will and park myself in front of the television with a cup of tea in one hand and a huge smile plastered on the face; the excitement has never once waned in all these years.
Needless to say, The R-Day parade is definitely the highlight of the day. I’m both awed and overjoyed, for reasons inexplicable, when the grand muscle flexing exercise begins. I make comments about every missile or rocket launching equipment that passes by even when I’m unsure of what I’m saying; sometimes I just repeat what the commentator is saying with a lot more excitement. I stand upright, sing the national anthem both the times that it is played, and hum along to the songs played by the marching bands.
It doesn’t matter how angry I might be at the government or the political society of this country for their gross inefficiency and incompetence, I’m still proud of being an Indian. Because it’s not the government that I’m patronizing by celebrating the Republic day. Because to me, being able to recognize myself as part of this nation, with all its shortcomings, comes second to nothing. Because honouring the soldiers who fight each day to protect us comes above berating the corrupt government.
It pained me to see the calls for boycotting the R-Day parade following the uproar caused by the Delhi rape case, as it seemed to entirely miss the point of commemorating the day. But at the same time, it amused me that the people who treat the day as just another holiday were the ones calling for the boycott.
I might seem like an idealist with all those statements, but I have my reasons. The day marks the adoption of that grand constitution that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and his committee worked hard to devise. There is no doubting the fact that the document is beyond par and it is the ideals enshrined in that document that we should celebrate. At least we have a general sense of direction as to where we want to go. It is now up to us to make sure that we’re on the right path.
Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor, tweeted yesterday about how being a true Indian wasn’t about hoisting the tricolor on the 26th; it was about being the one who picks up a discarded flag on the 27th. If that’s the measuring stick, I know I’m a true Indian. Maybe it’s time we start recognizing ourselves as part of a bigger entity and do our bit as a spoke in the wheel.